At Work With: Kenny Ho, Article magazine
We start the new week at work with Kenny Ho, a London-based fashion stylist with a broad range of experience stretching from work with celebrities such as Orlando Bloom and Cate Blanchett to international editorial and advertising work via stage work with David Bowie. In 2012, he and art director Rosy Tsai launched Article, a mens magazine celebrating Britain and Britishness and which is notable for its use of specialist print and finishing techniques. He shares his week ahead as the team completes issue three of the magazine and begin to plan number four.
Where are you today?
I’m spending this morning at the Article office in Shoreditch. We’re in the middle of editing issue three, which is due out the first week in May. Then I have a lunch meeting to start planning the winter issue, followed by a trip to Whitstable for a location recce: we’ve found a house that looks just like a David Hockney painting, which may be perfect for issue four’s main fashion story. We shall see!
What can you see from the window?
There is no window! We have a studio space beneath the East London Line near Hoxton Station, which we share with a couple of still-life photographers. It’s an old railway arch, so there’s almost no daylight once we close the front door - it's perpetually 7pm (and cold… )
Are you a morning or evening person?
Definitely an evening person! I seem to get a lot more done more quickly after 4pm. Having said that, I’ve learned that I must start winding down at 10pm, otherwise my brain goes into overdrive, and I can’t sleep!
What’s your favourite magazine this morning?
I am a big follower of Cereal. The concept of food and travel is such a perfect match and execution of the magazine is flawless. The tranquility of the photography and design makes Cereal the perfect read on a Monday morning before the start of a hectic week – its like slowly waking up to a bright day.
I also love how their art direction and identity is consistent throughout the brand, from the print magazine to the website through to their own range of products. It is very inspiring.
You have a busy career as a fashion stylist, and the jump from that to publishing your own magazine might seem a short one. Has it been a simple adaptation in practice?
It seems quite simple in theory, but I had to learn a lot about the businesses of both publishing and fashion as part of the journey. Spending a year on research and development prior to the launch of issue one was invaluable, it gave us time to find our own identity, to understand who our audience was, and to figure out what we could offer in terms of production and content that was different from all the men’s biannual titles already available. There is still so much more to be explored and developed, and I must admit I am really enjoying the process: a lot of people think ’creativity" and “commerciality” are totally different worlds, and cannot be mixed together successfully - but I’m learning that the magic happens when the two are able to run parallel to each other. And I’m learning not to be afraid of thinking outside of the box!
You have to be pretty dedicated and disciplined in this field. It’s constantly in your head, and it can totally take over your life at times. I’m fortunate that I have a great team working alongside me, all of whom are very passionate about their chosen fields – not to mention organised and efficient! It’s really rewarding to see all that hard work come to fruition when each issue is finished, and to plan where we can take it next - and to see how the business continues to unfold and expand in front of our eyes.
Underpinning each issue of Article is a very specific idea of Britishness. Can you describe that ideal?
Article is a celebration of Britain and everything British-related, focusing on men’s fashion, art and design, culture and entertainment. British manufacture and provenance is once again becoming synonymous with the highest quality and design. And we want to share with our readers the people who are championing that, whether they are craftsmen, small independent companies, luxury heritage brands or new-generation designers. As a nation we are often too humble to take pride in our contributions, but these people all have amazing stories to tell. British literature and art has always had a global reputation, and British actors are making great waves in the film industry too… there is so much to celebrate!
The printed edition of Article has been received very positively, it’s focus on the tactile experience of print being a key part of that recognition. But you also have an iPhone app providing additional content. Has that been as successful?
I have my art director Rosy Tsai to thank for the production of the print magazine, she's my right-hand woman – and an amazing talent!
We’ve been working with Mobile Acuity, who helped us to develop our mobile app for our first year. Most people expect a magazine app to simply be a digital format of the printed magazine, but the Article app is totally different. Through a technology called “mobile visual search”, which uses the camera on the phone to recognise designated images within the print magazine, it takes the user to a digital space filled with extra and exclusive content – like fashion films, behind-the-scenes imagery, new product details. When readers realise this, they are pretty amazed at what the app can do and what it can offer. But getting them to appreciate this difference in the first place was the hard part!
What are you most looking forward to this week?
We’re hosting an event later this week to celebrate Howard Tangye, a London-based artist who we featured in our current issue. Howard has drawn many well known figures in the fashion world – including designers John Galliano, Richard Nicoll and Zac Posen – and his first solo exhibition has just opened. The event takes place the night before London Fashion Week starts, so it should be a fun one!
What are you least looking forward to this week?
Running around town to various meetings in the rain is definitely my least favourite thing to do… did someone say there's another tube strike?
What will you be doing after this chat?
Going through the backlog of emails that’ve accumulated over the weekend…